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What You Should Know About Cutting and Cooking Onions

What You Should Know About Cutting and Cooking Onions

According to the National Onion Association, America’s consumption of onions has risen 50 percent in the last 20 years. This is great news, since onions boast many health benefits.

Aside from making soups and stir-fries delicious, onions are a source of potassium, magnesium, calcium, selenium, vitamin K and vitamin B6–all of which are vital for our health. The allium vegetable is a low-calorie food (one medium bulb has about 45 calories), and it contains no cholesterol or sodium.

Allergy-sufferers take note: onions also contain a powerful compound called quercetin, which fights allergies and inflammation. In fact, onions contain the highest amount of quercetin of any other vegetable on earth!

When onions are cut, they release beneficial sulfur and other compounds that are known to have anti-cancer properties. The finer you cut, the more nutrients you are going to get. Experts advise letting onions sit for at least five to 10 minutes after cutting, so that they release more of their valuable minerals and compounds.

Yes, onions can trigger tears, but here is the upside: those that make you cry harder are the best for your health. The more pungent the onion, the more disease-fighting compounds it contains, finds a study done at the Cornell Univeristy in Ithaca, N.Y.

How long should onions be cooked before they lose their nutrients? I found varying answers to this.

One advice is to cook them no longer than five minutes. This healthy saute recipe keeps 7 minutes as the limit, adding that slow cooking them until they are caramelized does bring out their natural sweetness but destroys many of their health benefits. While I will definitely keep enjoying the occasional sprinkling of fried onions upon a bed of pulao, I am going to make sure from now on I cook them short and quick for the most part!

Related:
Are You Cooking With the Best Type of Onion? Probably Not.
Rediscover Onions: 2 Delicious Recipes

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Health, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

116 comments

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3:37AM PDT on Jun 13, 2014

Wow - I did not know onions had all those benefits!!
Now, I need to learn to let them sit for 5 minutes before cooking, and not cook them too long.

3:42PM PDT on Apr 22, 2014

Onions and garlic on everything. Don and I CAN! :-))

6:39AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

I didn't know there was a National Onion Association

11:53PM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

Butter some white bread lightly and top with chopped green onion.Salt it to taste. Yum.

11:51PM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

Red onions are great raw in a salad or sandwich.

11:50PM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

I never buy onions in less than a 25 lb bag

11:49PM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

My son thought I was a genius the first time I sliced and browned onions for a burger topping.

11:46PM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

I love onions.

11:23PM PDT on Apr 1, 2014

Thank you!!

11:24PM PDT on Mar 27, 2014

Some good advice - many thanks!! Will remember to cut finely, let sit for 5 minutes and not overcook (although crispy onions with Barbecue Chops are sooo nice!)

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